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King orders no flogging of journalist

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Monday ordered the cancellation of a court sentence of 60 lashes imposed on a female employee of a satellite television channel because of her involvement in a program about sex.

Wire services quoted Information Ministry spokesman Abdul-Rahman al-Hazzaa as saying that the king had ordered the flogging dropped and her case, as well as that of another woman, be transferred from criminal court to a media court run by the ministry.

On Saturday, a court in Jeddah sentenced Rozanna Al Yami, 22, to 60 lashes after finding that she assisted Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC) to produce the program in which a Saudi man, Mazen Abdul Jawad, 32, spoke frankly about his sexual adventures. His interview scandalized many Saudis.

"The king has vindicated me. I am satisfied with the king's order and I accept the decisions of the sovereign," Alyami told Reuters after being informed of the pardon.

Abdul Jawad was sentenced to five years in prison and 1,000 lashes after the court found he had promoted immorality in recounting his active sex life. He is appealing.

Today, his lawyer Suliman Aljimaie said that his client's case should also be transferred from criminal court to the media court. If necessary, he said he would approach the king to request that this be done.